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Windows 7: SSD booting challenge


01 Nov 2011   #1
gdcowan

Windows 7 Premium 64 Bit
 
 
SSD booting challenge

Hello

I recently purchased a new Gateway FX6860-UR20P RT (link) a 128GB Crucial M4 SSD, which I want to set up as the boot disk to improve overall system performance.

After reading numerous forum threads on the topic of setting up an SSD as a boot disk I did the following:
(i) Install the SDD and format
(ii) Create a Gateway system recovery disk to allow for reinstall of the operating system
(iii) Unplug the original HDD
(iv) Use the recovery disk to install the OS on the SSD

At this point everything is working great - the system boots using the new SSD no problem. So I shut everything down and reconnect the original HDD, then reboot and ensure that the BIOS shows the SSD as the boot drive.

After all of this though, when I restart the system I get a "reboot and select proper boot device" message. Nothing I've been able to find online has been able to fix this issue. Here are a couple of other points:
(a) When I used the system recovery disk I had to choose the "Restore operating system to Factory defaults" option rather than the "Completely Restore Compture to factor defaults", which I would have preferred and indicated that "All data in the hidden partition and on the system partition will be restored". This option was inactive and not available when I tried to use it. The only reason I can think of is that I only had a single partition rather than the 3 that the original HDD had (20GB Recovery Partition; 100MB System Reserved; 1377 GB remainder).

(b) If I insert a Windows 7 repair disk it gives me the option to press a key to boot into CD or DVD but if I don't, it then automatically boots using the SSD.

(c) If I hit F12 during reboot it shows the 2 drives (SSD and original HDD) as well as the DVD. Until recently if I selected the SSD it would boot in fine. After running the Win7 System Repair Disk though, now it takes me to a boot manager that gives me the choice of the 2 drives. If I select the original HDD after F12 it boots right up without going through the boot manager.

Overall it seems like the original HDD is maintaining some sort of wierd priority even though the BIOS says otherwise. I'm not sure if the lack of a System Reserved partition on the SSD has anythiing to do with it.

Any help to solve this issue would be much appreciated. Thanks!!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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02 Nov 2011   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Can you post a screen shot of Disk Management, showing details of your drives and partitions? Arrange the sliders so it shows details such as boot, active,system, page file, etc.

Does Disk Management show that the SSD is set to "active"?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2011   #3
jcgriff2

Windows 7 - Vista
 
 

Did you format the HDD?


i.e., is Windows 7 still installed on the HDD? Only the SSD should have Windows 7 installed now.

It appears Windows 7 is on both the HDD + SSD.

Regards. . .

jcgriff2

`
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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02 Nov 2011   #4
gdcowan

Windows 7 Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
Can you post a screen shot of Disk Management, showing details of your drives and partitions? Arrange the sliders so it shows details such as boot, active,system, page file, etc.

Does Disk Management show that the SSD is set to "active"?
I've attached the screenshot. SSD is set as active. The System Reserved partition on the HDD is also set as active. I did go in to the command prompt and used diskpart to set this as inactive but somehow it reset itself to active - it's possible that the Win7 system repair disk did this when I tried to use it to get things working but the confused boot problem was still there after using diskpart and before using the system repair disk so I don't think that's the issue. Maybe there's some other nuance.

thx!


Attached Thumbnails
-disksetup.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2011   #5
gdcowan

Windows 7 Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jcgriff2 View Post
Did you format the HDD?


i.e., is Windows 7 still installed on the HDD? Only the SSD should have Windows 7 installed now.

It appears Windows 7 is on both the HDD + SSD.

Regards. . .

jcgriff2

`

Thanks for the suggestion - that's definitely my fallback plan. 2 reasons I haven't done it yet:
(1) I was hoping to have a backup boot capability just in case anything goes funky on the SSD
(2) (More importantly) I wanted to make sure that the other 2 partitions on the original HDD are not necessary for something that's not immediately obvious. Yes the SSD worked fine when booting by itself but from long experience sometimes you discover down the road after putting in a bunch of hours that something was not quite set up right and now everything needs to be redone
I assume the Gateway guys didn't set it up this way for fun - should I adjust the partitions on the SSD to mimic the ones on the HDD? Should I somehow point the SSD OS to the partitions on the HDD?

Based on all the threads I've read this should be possible so I thought I'd give it a crack. If I cant figure it out in the next day or so I'll do exactly as you suggest and format the original HDD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2011   #6
Sub Styler

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I havent read all the comments as i'm about to go out, Check the BIOS for a Disk Order option, (not boot order but hard drive order) this was needed when I was changing boot drives.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2011   #7
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gdcowan View Post
I did go in to the command prompt and used diskpart to set this as inactive but somehow it reset itself to active - it's possible that the Win7 system repair disk did this when I tried to use it to get things working but the confused boot problem was still there after using diskpart and before using the system repair disk so I don't think that's the issue. Maybe there's some other nuance.
Have you tried to set it to inactive through Disk Management?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2011   #8
gdcowan

Windows 7 Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gdcowan View Post
I did go in to the command prompt and used diskpart to set this as inactive but somehow it reset itself to active - it's possible that the Win7 system repair disk did this when I tried to use it to get things working but the confused boot problem was still there after using diskpart and before using the system repair disk so I don't think that's the issue. Maybe there's some other nuance.
Have you tried to set it to inactive through Disk Management?
Yep - somehow it set itself back to active.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2011   #9
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Someone like Gregrocker needs to look at this.

Have you tried system repair recently, with only the SSD connected?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2011   #10
gdcowan

Windows 7 Premium 64 Bit
 
 

OK - so I finally resolved the issue though not in an entirely intuitive fashion. For posterity, here's what I did:

After trying all sorts of stuff I finally decide to reformat the original HDD to eliminate any confusion on the part of the boot manager. This was not quite as easy as it sounds since there were 2 hidden partitions but to cust a long story short I ended up using the diskpart "clean" function which seemed to work well. Then formatted using diskpart ntfs quick.

Set up 3 partitions for various uses as shown in the attached screenshot. All looks good. So then I restart. What happens? Same message ("reboot and select proper boot device"). WTF? Again, if I use F12 and select the SSD, it boots fine. Used Win7 System repair Disk - no issues found. Can't find ANYTHING that indicates this should be happening.
I checked the BIOS again - boot order and HDD priority all seem as they should, with SSD as the boot HDD shown and listed as the first priority HDD.

Out of desperation I *CHANGED* the HDD priority so the original, now reformatted HDD is the 1st priority HDD (i.e. SSD is second). Restart. Works like a charm - boots straight up. WTF???

Anyhoo - its working now. Thanks for all your advice. I hope this helps someone else down the road.


Attached Images
 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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